Mississippi is intending to change its official state flag amid a wave of cultural and racial sensitivity.
The top-left corner of the state flag depicts the Confederate flag and people have previously called for this to be removed or changed. As protests across the country have mounted pressure on lawmakers to change statues, names, logos, and anything that could be taken offensively, the Mississippi legislature is looking to pass an initiative that would put a state flag change on the November ballot.
The Western Journal reports Republican speaker pro tempore of the Mississippi House Jason White explained to his colleagues in the legislature the severity of the change.
“I know there are many good people who … believe that this flag is a symbol of our Southern pride and heritage,” White said. “But for most people throughout our nation and the world, they see that flag and think that it stands for hatred and oppression.”
Republican Governor Tate Reeves similarly backed a change and said he would sign whatever change the legislature decides upon.
“The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag,” Reeves said. “The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it.”
According to the report, a new Mississippi flag will instead focus on its religious expression:
A bill will only need a simple majority to pass the House and Senate. It will say that the current flag will be removed from state law.
A commission would design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate emblem but must include the phrase “In God We Trust.”
The new design would be put on the ballot in November. If a majority voting that day accept the new design, it would become the state flag. If a majority reject it, the commission would design a new flag using the same guidelines.
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State Representative Chris Brown, a Republican, said the new flag option and the old flag design should both appear on the ballot so people can fairly choose which of the choices they prefer.
“I don’t think we can move forward together if we say, ‘You can have any flag you want except … this one,’” he said.